Gala lads head for final after hitting Earlston hard and early

Galashiels Academy 45

Earlston HIgh School 18

BREWIN DOLPHIN UNDER-18s SCOTTISH SCHOOLS PLATE – REGIONAL SEMI-FINAL

ALAN LORIMER reports from Netherdale

GALASHIELS Academy secured their place in the Borders and East Lothian regional final of the Brewin Dolphin Scottish Schools Under-18 plate competition by defeating Earlston High School.

The hosts ran in seven tries – including two apiece by talented stand-off Ruairi Howarth and promising prop Gary Robertson.

“We played some great running rugby in the first half, but kind of took our foot off the pedal after the break,” said Academy coach Lewis Bertram.

For Earlston, missing a number of key players, it was a disappointing outcome, but they can take credit for refusing to capitulate and scoring three tries in the second half.

Academy were well in control after 10 minutes with touchdowns by Howarth (2) and Robertson, all converted by centre Keith Young. Livewire scrum half Gavin Hamilton crossed the line to make it 26-0 and this lead was quickly increased with a touchdown from wing Calum Hunter. Young converted.

Earlston finally claimed their first points with a penalty by stand-off Russell McKay, but before the break home prop Gareth Yeomans powered over for a try to make the interval score 38-3.

A close-range touchdown by Kieran Hogg increased Earlston’s points tally, only for Robertson to sprint clear for Galashiels’ final try which was converted by young.

Then, in a final phase, McKay grabbed two unconverted tries for the visitors, but it was merely a late show of defiance that could not prevent Academy from taking the honours.